U.S. ambassador urges Ukraine to step up fight against corruption – Kyiv Post
Accelerating the fight against corruption would be the most transformative change Ukraine could make in 2018, United States Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch said on Feb 1 at an AmCham conference in Kyiv.
“Business investment and growth in Ukraine is not where it needs to be,” Yovanovitch said, according to the Kyiv Post. “It is stunted by an unreliable and unreformed judicial system. For this reason, the U.S. government is a vocal advocate for the creation of Anti-Corruption Court composed of judges properly vetted and of highest integrity.”
The ambassador’s words echo the findings of AmCham’s latest survey on corruption perceptions in the international business community in Ukraine, which was released on Jan 29.
Read alsoIMF refutes reports on softer stance toward anti-corruption court in UkraineAccording to the results of the AmCham’s latest survey, 89% of respondents said combating corruption was a priority for fostering Ukraine economic growth and attracting foreign investment while 71% said the courts were the most corrupt institutions, followed by the tax and customs authorities.
Yet reform in Ukraine appears to have stalled as only at the end of December did President Petro Poroshenko finally submit his draft bill on the High Anti-Corruption court to parliament.
The president’s draft bill, however, has already drawn criticism from the IMF for not meeting either the recommendations of the Venice Commission or Ukraine’s commitments under its IMF loan program.
“We look forward to the speedy passage of a law that meets international standards and is in line with the Ukrainian constitution,” Ambassador Yovanovitch said.
She also pointed to some of Ukraine’s achievements in the face of the difficult circumstances the country has been in, with Russia’s war in Donbas still raging. In her view, the biggest achievements of the government in 2017 were the adoption of the law protecting businesses from arbitrary raids by law enforcement agencies, the launch of an electronic value-added tax refund system, and a reduction in royalty rates for gas producers.
Speaking at the same AmCham event, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman announced that his Cabinet has 35 pro-business laws in the pipeline.